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Agenda item

Performance and Operational Report

Report of the Bereavement Services Manager and Registrar.

Minutes:

The Bereavement Services Manager and Registrar asked Members to note the performance figures from 1 January 2021 to 31 March 2021 and the comparison to the same period for 2020, highlighting that there was a net increase of 12 cremations and 3 NVF cremations year on year.  It was noted there was a total of 670 for the three-month period with the January to March profile breakdown, as fully set out at Appendix 2, showing 207 from Durham, 25 from Spennymoor and 438 from outside of the area.

 

The Joint Committee were informed that the total number of cremations in 2020/21 was 2,738 compared with 2,350 in 2019/20, representing an increase of 388 cremations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  He reminded the Committee that the 2020/21 budget had been set at a prudent assumption of 2,200 cremations during the year.  The Bereavement Services Manager and Registrar noted the additional 538 cremations had resulted in an over achievement of cremation fee income of £325,839 in year and explained the number of cremations undertaken each year over the last ten years was set out within the report.

 

Members were asked to note that the number of memorials sold, 66, had increased by 18 in comparison to the same period the previous year, with income being £4,138 more than the comparable period last year.

 

The Bereavement Services Manager and Registrar reminded Members of the situation staff at the crematorium faced as a result of COVID-19 and highlighted that the staff had continued to demonstrate a high level of service.  He added the staff were coping with the demand, were an asset to Durham Crematorium, and thanked all the staff for all their assistance during the pandemic.  Members were asked to note that due to a recent COVID-19 outbreak at the crematorium, several staff were required to self-isolate and relief staff were brought in from within the Service Area to provide cover.  The Bereavement Services Manager and Registrar noted a number of those staff continued to assist and were considered an asset to the Authority.  The Joint Committee were asked to note that additional cleaning of the crematorium had been required, with an additional cleaner being employed to assist crematorium staff during the day.

 

Members were asked to note that the crematorium did not currently offer a credit card payment option to members of the public and it was a service that was regularly requested.  The Bereavement Services Manager and Registrar explained that, following discussions with the Council’s Income and Support Team as regards the crematorium offering this service, a Chip and PIN machine had been ordered for a monthly rental of £16 per month, plus

nominal processing fees.  He noted the cost could be absorbed within existing office budgets and the Chip and PIN facility would provide an enhanced service to families.

 

The Bereavement Services Manager and Registrar concluded by noting that the Joint Conference of the Federation of Burial and Cremation

Authorities and the Cremation Society of Great Britain, due to be held in Southampton from 21 to 23 June 2021, had been cancelled due to the pandemic.

 

The Chair thanked the Bereavement Services Manager and Registrar and wished for the thanks of the Joint Committee to be passed to all staff for their hard work.  He asked Members for their comments and questions.

 

Town Councillor I Machin noted thanks, on behalf of Spennymoor Town Council, for the continued great job carried out by the Bereavement Services Manager and Registrar and his team.  He noted the competitiveness of the Chip and Pin costs obtained by the Bereavement Services Manager and Registrar.

 

Resolved:

 

(i)         That the current performance of the Crematorium be noted.

(ii)        That the additional cleaning undertaken as part of the COVID-19 outbreak be noted.

(iii)     That the introduction of credit card payment facilities at the

          Crematorium be noted.

(iv)       That the cancellation of the Joint Conference of the Federation of

Burial and Cremation Authorities and the Cremation Society of

Great Britain be noted.

 

Supporting documents:

 

Contacts
Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
Durham
County Durham
DH1 5UL
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03000 269 714